[Bell Historians] Oldest Fittings

David Cawley dave at oZqVmL06PmGBNjwNNwKUWYE8BjBTOd3UF0bndyq_JFyEogw1diZON10YiASUJRMG8tU9xmQx9KwJ5sSOcUjyEGc.yahoo.invalid
Mon Aug 13 16:59:45 BST 2007

Philip's question begs the question which has had recent airings in the Ringing World: what is "ringable"? and what is complete? I was quite surprised not to see in that correspondence an expression used by the late Bill Theobald, "inadvisable". He told me that a number of these had received the "intermittent attention of vernacular bellhangers" (!) down the centuries, some of which, often quite recent, was "inadvisable". 

So far as bell fittings go, it is very often the headstocks and clappers which last longest. Gudgeons, bearings, wheels and rollers often having undergone partial or total renewal, sometimes so long ago that it is difficult to tell. I recently rang on an 18th century six with 18th century headstocks and clappers (and I believe gudgeons and bearings) which to my surprise had been put into good order with 19th century wheels and a great deal of 21st century effort in their 17thC frame.

As to complete installations it may be a red herring to mention two which have been removed in recent years. One was Alton Pancras (5) so memorably described by CD in Dorset I. The other was the Town Church in St Peter Port, with the odd situation of a 1913 (French) ring of eight hung in a 1736 French bellfounder's "copy" of traditional English bell fittings in an "after the English type" frame with very narrow pits round the front end to take the disproportionately small trebles. They had certainly been rung once in recent years. See my recently published "Church Bells of the Channel Islands". Whether either was ringable in the accepted ( ? or approved ) sense of the word is a moot point. Sadly, Alton Pancras were taken out and rehung dead despite strenuous efforts by Taylors to get the parish to accept a ringing scheme. The story at St Peter Port is happier as I think most who have heard or rung on the 1994 Taylor eight will agree.

Here is a little snippet, that even bellhangers fall into the trap. In 1930, J P Fidler was inspecting the ring of six at Avington, Hants, for Taylors. He found four of the bells cracked the frame apparently sound and the fittings worn out. He nevertheless had the bells pulled up singly to check frame movement. All was well, the frame was sound. The last bell to be tested was the third, which hung above. As before, all seemed well. The bell was rung down and stopped. The ringer was tying the rope the canons snapped and down came the bell just missing Jack Fidler. Clearly it can happen to the best of us. (Avington bells were sold for scrap in the 1960's).

This doesn't pretend to answer Philip's question!


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Philip Denton 
  To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2007 11:19 PM
  Subject: [Bell Historians] Oldest Fittings

  Does anyone know which ringable rings have the oldest fittings? When I rang at East Carlton, Northamptonshire (3/06), I was told that the bells (Joseph Eayre, 1755, 9 cwt ring of 6) were re-hung in the new church tower in 1788. The Peterborough Diocesan Inventory gives the frame and fittings as probably by Edward Arnold, 1789. They were very heavy-going to ring! Are there many cases of older fittings in use?


  jshe726707 at h1hlJsHo2N3apUBkhH_iV3MNb2AYgZ2yAuWiXHkPKJHHHmh1eZKPBuyUVb6fSnK3zqRvbFZbvGt4nw.yahoo.invalid wrote:
    In a message dated 12/08/2007 21:46:11 GMT Daylight Time, rodbick at googlemail.com writes:
      I remember re-hanging a bell in the 1070's and it went really badly. It is
      still going and now goes as well as any other bell in the tower.

    I didn't appreciate that you were that venerable Rod .


  Yahoo! Answers - Get better answers from someone who knows. Try it now.

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